Hurlburt hooked on rugby

Connor Hurlburt was introduced to rugby while in middle school and he was hooked. “Norm McDougall introduced us to the game and it became a huge passion of mine,” explained the 17-year-old Grade 12 student at Hunting Hills High School.

Connor Hurlburt was introduced to rugby while in middle school and he was hooked.

“Norm McDougall introduced us to the game and it became a huge passion of mine,” explained the 17-year-old Grade 12 student at Hunting Hills High School.

“I tried to play football once I got to high school, but it just wasn’t the same … rugby is my sport.”

Hurlburt became involved in the sport in middle school, but once he got to high school, and joined the Red Deer Titans Club that he grew as a player.

“I started out playing the back row, where it was basically running, but as I grew up and grew stronger in high school, I moved to the front row,” he said.

The five-foot-10, 215-pound Hurlburt took over as the hooker and hasn’t moved since.

Hooker plays the middle of the front row during a scrum and uses his feet to ‘hook or rake’ the ball back.

“It used to be a dangerous position to play, because you have both your arms pinned back and when you get into the scrum you can be pushed down and have no way to protect you head and neck. There were a lot of injuries, but in the last few years they’ve changed the way you go into the scrum and it’s safer and more stable.

“I enjoy it and can’t see playing somewhere else.”

Hurlburt became involved with the Hunting Hills Lightning senior team while in Grade 9, although he could only practice with them.

“Still that experience, and the fact I joined the Titans, allowed me to grow quickly.”

He’s played the last three years with the Titans U18 team and each year progressed as a team leader.

“I’ve had the same coaches the last three years, and all time in high school, so that was a benefit,” he said. “They have been instrumental in my development.”

Hurlburt, who is a highly motivated athlete, has also committed to the Titans School of Rugby program. He will train with the Titans senior team and join them once his time with the U18 program is done.

The fact the Titans are one of the elite rugby programs in the province has helped in his development as well.

“Getting a chance to compete at a high level and against top competition is a benefit for sure,” he said. “You have a lot more responsibility in games and even in training.”

Hurlburt, who was the Alberta Sports Development Centre — Central male athlete of the month for May, hasn’t had an opportunity to compete with the provincial team, but hopes that will change this summer.

“I want to try out for a team this year and see how it goes,” he said. “I would be good to get that experience and that exposure as I would like to get attend a university which has a rugby team.”

If not he will get into physical therapy at RDC in the fall and continue to play with the Titans.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Whistle Stop Cafe east of Mirror is open for sit-down dining in defiance of health restrictions that owner Christopher Scott says are unfair to restaurants and other small businesses.
Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Whistle Stop Cafe owner’s legal battle continues

Government stopped closure order legal action but Public Health Act breach still a live issue

Parts of Three Mile Bend will be closed next week as crews work in the area. (Photo courtesy City of Red Deer)
Three Mile Bend walking path closed temporarily

Parts of the Three Mile Bend walking trail will be closed next… Continue reading

RCMP seized a substantial amount of stolen property last week. (Photo courtesy of Innisfail RCMP)
RCMP charge six suspects after ‘substantial’ amount of stolen property seized

Innisfail RCMP recovered a large amount of stolen property after arresting six… Continue reading

Pharmacist Aamir Hussain, owner of Shoppers Drug Mart in Clearview Market Square, said he expects vaccine to be available to eligible seniors next week at his store. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)
Red Deer pharmacies prepare to be part of COVID-19 immunization plan

Seniors have already been calling to book appointments

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

Butter and sourdough bread is shown at a house in Vernon, B.C. on Wednesday, February 24, 2021. A Quebec dairy farmers' group is calling on milk producers to stop feeding palm oil or its derivatives to livestock as controversy churns over how these supplements affect the consistency of butter. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jesse Johnston
Dairy farmers lobby asks members to stop using palm oil in feed after ‘buttergate’

A dairy producers’ lobbying group is asking farmers to consider alternatives to… Continue reading

A new report says Canada’s small businesses now collectively owe more than $135 billion as they struggle to survive the pandemic, a staggering amount experts say could hurt the country’s economic recovery. (Photo by The Canadian Press)
Canadian small businesses rack up $135 billion in debt to survive pandemic: Report

TORONTO — Canada’s small businesses have collectively taken on $135 billion in… Continue reading

A Loblaws store is seen in Montreal on March 9, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Loblaw ready to call on pharmacists, supply chain to help COVID-19 vaccine rollout

BRAMPTON, Ont. — Loblaw Companies Ltd. says its ready to play a… Continue reading

Imperial Oil logo as seen at the company's annual meeting in Calgary, Friday, April 29, 2016.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Imperial Oil reports one-billion-barrel drop in bitumen reserves at end of 2020

CALGARY — Imperial Oil Ltd. is cutting one billion barrels from its… Continue reading

Justice Minister David Lametti responds to a question during a news conference about training for judges Monday, Oct. 19, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Justice Minister David Lametti proposes permanent justice reforms in wake of pandemic

OTTAWA — The COVID-19 pandemic appears set to force a modernization of… Continue reading

Justice Minister David Lametti during a news conference in Ottawa, Thursday Nov. 26, 2020. Lametti says he will seek parliamentary approval to remove a Quebec judge from the bench after the Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear the judge’s appeal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Justice minister to seek judge’s removal after Supreme Court declines to hear appeal

OTTAWA — Justice Minister David Lametti says he will seek parliamentary approval… Continue reading

Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy Vice-Admiral Art McDonald is seen during an interview with The Canadian Press in Ottawa, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Military reeling as new defence chief steps aside amid allegations of misconduct

OTTAWA — The Canadian Armed Forces is reeling after news defence chief… Continue reading

William Sandeson arrives at provincial court in Halifax on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015. Canada’s top court has declined to hear a Crown appeal of an overturned murder conviction in the case of a former Nova Scotia medical student. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Supreme Court declines to hear Crown appeal of overturned N.S. murder conviction

Canada’s top court has declined to hear an appeal from the Crown… Continue reading

Most Read